What Should I Do After a Car Crash?
Being involved in an accident can be a traumatizing experience for you and your family. For most people, it takes a while before regaining the confidence to get behind the wheel again. In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, you might forget several essential things to do. I understand it’s challenging to get your mind together but finding the composure to do the following is critical.
Make Sure Everyone Inside the Car is Safe
A car accident can turn your world upside down, and it is easy to forget your safety and those of others on board. Ask your fellow travelers how they are feeling. Small children might be more difficult to diagnose, so waiting on first responders to assess their injuries is important. Again, do not forget to do a quick scan of yourself to ascertain whether you have incurred some injuries. If anyone has suffered injuries, inform the police and emergency services immediately.
Make Sure Others Are Safe by Protecting the Scene
It is advisable to leave your car on the accident spot as you and the police review the damage. However, the entire scene might be a danger to other drivers. If you can still drive and your car is operable, move it to the roadside or over to the shoulder. Regardless of your vehicle’s position, do not forget to switch on the hazard lights, daytime or night. It is crucial to alert oncoming cars of the accident from a safe distance to avert further incidents.
Call the Police
You and your passengers might be lucky to escape unscathed from the accident. However, police assistance is still very crucial. Remember, you will need to pursue insurance compensation down the road. Some insurance companies will not entertain claims in the absence of a valid police report.
Here are more reasons calling for law enforcement is vital no matter how minor the accident may seem:
- To protect the scene of the accident from interference.
- To direct vehicular traffic around the scene.
- To investigate the cause of the accident.
- To check whether you or the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Police may as well provide basic first aid as you wait for the ambulance.
Make an Accurate Record: Take Pictures & Take Down Witness Details
After the police arrive on the scene, take some time to document everything you can. Take note of everything preceding the accident and how the actual accident occurred. If there are witnesses who saw events unfolding, seek their views, and record their details. Establish the exact location of the accident and record the coordinates.
Pictures are also important artifacts to take and keep. Take a good number of photos from different angles. Important photos to capture include the following:
- Visible damage to the vehicle(s) involved
- Deployed airbags
- Skidmarks, if any
- Weather conditions
- Street signs
- License plates
- Insurance information
Exchange Information with All Concerned Parties
The police will seek and collect all the necessary information, but it doesn’t hurt to exchange this information with all concerned parties. Important information worth exchanging includes:
- Names of the other parties
- Contact information telephone, email, address, etc.
- Insurance provider
- Policy number
- License plate number
- Driver’s license number
- Model and color of cars involved
- The police names and badge numbers
Seek Medical Attention and Get a Check-Up
You might be feeling okay at first, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek a medical evaluation. The rush of endorphins might have masked up physical or psychological injuries. Seek medical attention and go for a check-up soon after the accident.
Your physician will make a proper diagnosis, record any observation, and prescribe treatment. Some injuries that take time to manifest include:
- Stiffness of the shoulder and neck
- Feeling of numbness
- Brain trauma
- Muscle trauma
- Herniated disc
Keep a File of All the Accident-Related Documentation
Request all the medical documents and file them together with the rest of the evidence collected at the scene. You now have a file with every detail from the accident. You might also consider writing a personal narrative detailing every aspect of the accident. Your accident file will now contain the following:
- Notes from the scene
- Printed pictures of the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Insurance information of all parties
- Police reports
- Medical records
Call an Insurance Company
Call up your insurance company to inform them of your involvement in an accident. Some insurance companies have a limitation on how soon you can report an accident, so do it as soon as you can. If you feel your insurance company might be unwilling to compensate, contact me on 816-945-4409.
In all insurance dealings, decline to divulge information that might derail your claim. Politely decline to answer questions from the other driver’s insurance company unless instructed by an attorney.
Following up on insurance compensation is the most arduous task in the post-accident period. However, you can cut to the chase and hire an experienced personal injury attorney for legal advice and claims follow-up. Don’t waste any time … Some insurance companies have time limits to report an accident and file a claim, so contact Plaza Injury Law as soon as possible. Here is why retaining an experienced car accident attorney is the best decision you can make:
- Any liability or negligence issues will be identified to prove who was at fault. For example, the evidence in accidents involving semi-trucks can be very different than in an accident between two passenger vehicles.
- Evidence will be properly collected and catalogued.
- Injuries aren’t just physical. They can be emotional, mental, and economic as well. Lost wages, medical expenses, and the loss of a loved one’s companionship can all be injuries, too.
- The appropriate documentation will be collected, experts will be consulted, and evidence will be presented to a jury.
- It is not unusual for more than one insurance company to be involved in a claim after a car accident, and it takes an expert to successfully navigate the complicated claims process.
If you or your loved one has suffered car accident injuries, contact Donovan Dodrill at Plaza Injury Law immediately. As an expert in personal injury law, Donovan will provide the best representation you need to successfully settle your rightful claim. As always, case consultations are free and confidential.